JOHANNESBURG - Maybe he didn’t want to shake the mitt that once played a starring role in the legendy “The Hand of God” goal.
Maybe, frankly, he just doesn’t like Diego Maradona’s schtick.
Or maybe he was too busy trying to wave a fist at his own team for turning in such a moribund effort against an Argentinian side that requires opponents to be at their best.
Those were the conspiracy theories floating around Ellis Park Stadium on Saturday concerning Nigerian manager Lars Lagerback’s decision to not shake counterpart Diego Maradona’s hand at the conclusion of Argentina’s 1-0 triumph in the World Cup opener for both teams.
Upon hearing all that speculation, Lagerback scoffed at the notion that he was bitter with the Argentinian manager. There was no truth to any of it, he insisted.
“There is nothing to say it’s a custom to (shake hands) after the match,” Lagerback said. “I have nothing against Maradona at all, I shook his hand before the game.
“I have a lot of respect for him.”
Unfortunately, the result was not what he was looking for.
“I’m very disappointed by the result but I’m proud of my players and the team performance they put in,” he said.